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Breathe It In

As the Father sent Me, so I am sending you
Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 104:1,24.29-31,34; 1 Corinthians 12:3-7,12-13; John 20:19-23

Sermon Week Pentecost Sunday Cycle A

Scripture Summary John 20:21

There are two possible answers to the question of life's meaning and purpose.

The first, a grim description in Shakespeare's "Macbeth," for whom life was ...
A tale told by an idiot,
full of sound and fury,
signifying nothing.

The other is that which is optimistically expressed by a famous anthropologist of religion -1 who said,

"Something is afoot in the Universe."

There is no middle ground. Either something is afoot, or life is absurd. Either God's Plan of creation is unfolding, or chaos abounds. Either we're too good to be thrown away, or we're worthless -- completely useless.

A distinguished member of the clergy was asked why he believed in God. He replied, "The fact is I believed in God before I knew the reasons. I know that I must breathe, and without air, I would die. But long before that, I just breathed."

So, it is with Faith. "In the beginning," reads the opening sentence in the Bible, "God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1). The Bible doesn't begin with reasons for belief. The Bible doesn't start with rationalizations for the existence of God. In drawing its first breath, so to speak, the very Presence of God is the Bible's point of departure. God's existence and His creative power are assumed, and everything that follows aligns with that assumption. In the beginning, God! In the beginning, something's afoot!

The Apostle Paul's Letter to the Romans assumes that none of us lives as her or his own master, and none of us dies as her or his own master. "If we live, we live for the Lord," Paul writes, and if we die, we die for the Lord, so that alive or dead we belong to the Lord ... It is to God, therefore, that each of us must give an account of himself" (Rom. 14:7,12).

There is an ancient legend in which a holy prophet went into the marketplace once a week to proclaim against the evil that people do to one another and the good they fail to do to one another. But, week-after-week, month-after-month, year-after-year, the good [...]

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